How Scribd Changed My Life

That’s a bold statement, I know.

Some of you may have noticed the recent addition of audio books in my last couple of book posts. If so, you may be wondering when I started listening to audio books, and why I haven’t said anything about it.

Well friends, here’s your answer to those burning questions. Because I know you’re dying to know.

Back in August, I had to drive to Atlanta for work, by myself. I was dreading it – the last time I’d driven alone, I’d ended up listening to all my cheesy boy band albums, and I just wasn’t up for that. Plus, I was still behind in my reading challenge. I knew a lot of people liked audio books, but to be honest, figured it would be something that I wouldn’t get into.

I realize that sounds dumb given how much I read. I’d tried audio books exactly once, in college. I listened to Stephen King’s The Mist on a drive back from visiting Jimmie in Nashville. I got bored, and eventually realized I had no idea what was going on in the story. That was my last attempt.

Jimmie actually suggested I try downloading podcasts for that trip, but for some reason, I decided to start with books. (I still haven’t tried podcasts, though I should.) So I jumped over to Audible to check it out, since I knew they gave you a free trial…..which I’d apparently already used. Sigh. A quick Google search later, I stumbled across Scribd.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Scribd is a reading service for lack of a better way to describe it. They have books, audio books, comics, sheet music, documents and magazines. For $9 a month, subscribers get 1 audio book credit and 3 ebook credits. You can even scribdpublish and share documents on Scribd. New subscribers get a free month, and your card isn’t charged until you renew.

I signed up, and then was promptly overwhelmed with the audio book choices. I ended up choosing Emma Straub’s Modern Lovers, since I loved The Vacationers and hadn’t yet gotten a copy of Modern. I’ll admit, it took me a while to get into listening to a book – at first, I found the narration incredibly monotonous. Nothing wrong with the narrator, I just wasn’t used to “reading” in that format. After an hour or so, though, I was hooked, both on the story and on the experience. By the time I got to Atlanta (a mere 3.5 hours), I’d decided I was keeping the subscription. (Read my thoughts on Modern Lovers and The Vacationers if you missed them.)

Since then, I’ve listened to 5 other audio books, and I’ve found that I love the format. It’s a lot easier to get into a dense book when someone is reading it to you. Plus, I mostly listen in the car, so I don’t have that feeling like I could be doing something else if a book is particularly tough. White Oleander was that way – it’s a beautiful book, but I don’t think I’d have made it through if I’d tried to read it. As it was, I ended up really enjoying it.

I’ve also listened while folding laundry (genius idea – it makes laundry so much less annoying), knitting, coloring, walking, eating lunch, and lying in bed. All good choices.

If you’re doing the math, you’re probably now wondering how I’ve read 6 audio books in 3 months, when you only get 1 credit per month. Good for you for keeping up. In addition to the enormous library of audio books (and ebooks too), Scribd offers a ton of free content. There’s a whole library of unlimited reads, books that never require a credit. Plus, each month they offer “Scribd Selects,” a list of maybe 50 or so books that are free for the month. Scribd Selects don’t stay in your library – so you couldn’t reread them later without using a credit – but since I don’t reread anyway, this isn’t an issue for me.

Taken from Scribd’s website

If between the unlimited library, the Scribd Selects, and your monthly credit you find it still isn’t enough, you can buy additional audio books for $9. This is also not going to be an issue for me.

Oh, and you can roll over credits, up to 3 audio books and 9 ebooks. Or you can just “buy” a book and leave it in your library until you’re ready to read it. Once you’ve purchased it, it’s yours. FOREVER.

Let’s see, other fun things I love about Scribd….you can store books offline so you’re not using data. You get a free sample of every ebook (roughly 30 pages or so) so you can make sure it’s something you want to use a credit on. If the month ends and you’re in the middle of a Scribd Select, you still have two weeks to finish it…and if that isn’t long enough, you just email them and they’ll extend it for you.

So far, the only downside I’ve found is that they often don’t have a ton of new ebooks. Typically, at least for what I’ve been searching, new books are available in audio long before they’re available in ebook. So, I have a backlog of about 8 audio books I want to use my credits on, and maybe 2 ebooks. However, there’s absolutely no shortage of ebooks, and no doubt, if I spent a little more time searching ebooks, I’d find plenty to spend credits on. And, happily, the children’s and YA selection is REALLY good, so I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of cute little series. Oh, and they recently added People Magazine, so I’m reading all sorts of celebrity gossip I never knew I cared about.

I’m seriously hooked on Scribd, and I’m not exactly joking when I say it’s changed my life. At the very least, I’ve been able to get back on track with my Goodreads reading challenge progress, and we all know that was a major source of anxiety! I know a lot of folks like Audible, but Scribd is a better fit for me. Plus, I love the company’s philosophy – they truly seem to care about readers, and about making the best reading experience possible.

Typically, new subscribers get one free month of Scribd, but if you sign up using my link, you’ll get TWO free months. Think how many books that is!! Then, if you like it, keep it, or cancel if you don’t. I get nothing (I think), other than the satisfaction of knowing someone else is getting to enjoy a great service.

Happy reading!